Collection Development / Weeding Policy

The mission of the Clinton Public Library is to provide materials, programs, and services that enable local residents to pursue learning and personal enrichment throughout their lives. The Clinton Public library strives to fulfill its mission through purchasing high quality library materials to meet the educational, informational, and entertainment needs of the Clinton community.  Maintaining our collection of books, audio-visual materials, electronic resources, and other items is central to achieving this mission.  This policy defines the goals and acceptable practices related to selecting, deselecting, and managing resources collected by the library for use by our customers.

An important consideration of the Clinton Public Library must be to maintain a proper balance of materials.  While the library does not wish to censor or restrict controversial material, they must keep book purchases within a budget, and the books and materials purchased must provide proper balance of material types.

  • Materials should meet high standards of quality in content, expression, and format.
  • The content should be timely, timeless, authoritative, and significant in subject matter.
  • Material should be of immediate or anticipated interest to individuals or to the community.
  • The collection should include the widest possible coverage consistent with the needs of the community.
  • The collection should meet standards of acceptability as to accuracy, effective expression, and significance of subject, sincerity, and responsibility or opinion.
  • The collection should meet the standards of physical and technical excellence.
  • The children’s collection should be carefully selected for children of all ages, with emphasis on books and games, which stimulate imagination and help in the development of literary taste.
  • The young people’s collection should be selected to provide sound information and understanding of the world we live in today.
  • Materials will in time need to be weeded because of but not limited to degradation, to avoid distribution of misinformation, or to conserve space. Materials will be donated to the Friends of the Library, donated to a charitable institution, or discarded.
  • The library accepts gifts of books and other items, but reserves the right not to add those items to the collection. All gift materials will be judged by the selection criteria.


The library’s philosophy of collection management is twofold.  One component is to acquire materials that are in demand by customers.  The other component is to maintain quality materials.  The library strives to provide an equitable balance in terms of quality and demand when acquiring titles for the collection, and further strives to buy a sufficient number of copies of each title to meet the demands of library customers.  The library’s collection, with the exceptions of local history and genealogy, is not archival.  Items are deselected when certain criteria are met, such as: an item has not checked out in several years or its usage has dropped below a level that is cost effective for the library to maintain, the information provided by the item is inaccurate or out of date, or an item is damaged or worn beyond reasonable repair.

The library board approves the Collection Management Policy and is the ultimate authority for the selection of library materials.  The library board delegates the authority to interpret and guide the application of this policy to the library director.  The library director assigns professional librarians, qualified by education and experience to the task of applying this policy to manage library collections.




Professional library staff members utilize numerous sources for purchasing ideas.  A partial list of these sources includes:


Publisher’s Weekly                     Baker & Taylor           Library staff recommendations

Library Journal                       Booklist                       School Library Journal 

Horn Book                              Video Librarian           Customer requests                          Plugged                     

New York Times Book Review                                  Internet Movie Database        Kirkus Reviews

New York Times Bestseller Lists                               Yalsa Best Books


The library selects resources that are in demand as well as those that are of high quality.

The quality of a resource is determined by professional library staff, and may include:


  • Resources favorably reviewed in a standard review source
  • Resources that provide current and accurate information
  • Resources that have value commensurate with cost and/or need
  • Resources that have local historical significance and/or are produced by a local resident
  • Resources that meet the educational, informational, or entertainment needs of the library customers
  • Resources that appear on a list related to a class or course at a local educational institution
  • Resources considered classics, or notable.  These resources may include:
    • Items designated as classics, or notable, by professional library staff
    • Newberry and Caldecott winners and nominees
    • Resources included in Horn Book’s Children’s Classics List
    • Items appearing on the Indiana Reading List, published by the Indiana Department of Education
    • Grammy Award winners for Album of the Year, and nominees
    • Academy Award winners for Best Picture, and nominees
    • Resources listed on American Library Association’s notable lists
    • Resources listed as New York Times notable books for the current year


Resources that are considered in high demand may include:


  • Any resource that, in the judgment of professional library staff, is likely to meet or exceed the following usage criteria:
    • For a resource that checks out for three weeks, the title averages one checkout per month for at least the first six months of its shelf life
    • For a resource that checks out for one week, the title averages three checkouts per month for at least the first six months of its shelf life
    • For an electronic resource (online databases, etc.), the resource is access an average of at least three times a day
  • Any item published within the last three months (or is soon to be published) that has an initial print run of at least 100,000
  • Any resource that has been requested by multiple library customers
  • Any item with a hold ratio greater than 1 to 1 (meaning that the number of holds on an item exceeds the number of copies the library owns)
  • Resources that appear on local or national bestseller lists (lists that include prepublications are also considered)


Items that are in high demand will be purchased in sufficient quantity to meet demand.  Specifically, additional purchases of a title may be made to meet demand when, in the opinion of professional library staff, it is warranted.  Situations where additional purchases may be warranted include:


  • For resources that check out for three weeks, that average circulation for the most recent 30 day period exceeds 1.25 checkouts
  • For resources that check out for one week, the average circulation for the most recent 30 day period exceeds 3.5 checkouts
  • The hold ratio on any title exceeds 1 to 1



The process of de-selection helps to maintain an up-to-date collection of materials that are in demand and in good repair.  Professional library staff evaluates the entire collection during a bi-annual period, deselecting items based on the following criteria:


  • Is there customer demand for the item?
  • Is the item damaged or worn beyond reasonable repair and/or is it possible to purchase a “fresh” copy of a worn item? If so, this item is either repaired or removed from the collection.
  • Does the item have local historical significance, or is it written by a local author?
  • Is the information out-of-date or does the item offer inaccurate data?  Are there newer or more complete resources available?
  • Are multiple copies of an item still needed to meet demand?
  • Would eliminating an item leave a hole in a subject area that could not be readily filled?
  • Is the item readily available online or from another library in the event of a future request?
  • Is the item known to be part of an educational reading list that is utilized in the community?
  • Has a more desirable format for the content been added to the collection?
  • Would the item be better utilized in another part of the collection, or, by another organization?


Material Selection Patron Complaint Procedure


If a patron disagrees with any material the library houses we will review their complaint.  Patrons may complete the “Patron Request for Reconsideration of library materials form”. Pending decision of a reviewing committee of three appointed by the Library Board President, the material should be removed from circulation. The complainant should be courteously informed of the majority decision of the committee and whether the item will or will not continue to be removed from circulation.



Clinton Public Library

Request for Reconsideration of Library Resources

The Clinton Public Library has delegated the responsibility for selection of library resources to its professional staff members and has established a reconsideration procedure to be followed if concerns about selected materials arise.   Please return the completed form to the Library Director.  Incomplete or inaccurate forms will not be considered.

Name ___________________________

Date ___________________________

Address ___________________________

City ___________________________

State ___________________________

Zip ___________________________

Phone ___________________________

Do you represent self? ____ Organization? ____

If you represent an Organization, what is the name of the organization you represent?


  1. Resource on which you are commenting:

____ Book ____ Textbook ____ DVD/Video ____ Display

____ Magazine ____ Library Program ____ Audio Recording

____ Newspaper ____ Electronic information/network (please specify)

____ Other ___________________________

Title ___________________________

Author/Producer ___________________________

Call Number:_________________________________

  1. What brought this resource to your attention?


  1. Have you examined the entire resource?


  1. What concerns you about the resource? (use other side or additional pages if necessary)


  1. Are there resource(s) you suggest to provide additional information and/or other viewpoints on this topic?




Library Bill of Rights


The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.

  1. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
  2. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.

  1. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
  2. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
  3. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

Adopted June 18, 1948, by the ALA Council; amended February 2, 1961; January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996.


Freedom to Read Statement

The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label “controversial” views, to distribute lists of “objectionable” books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to counter threats to safety or national security, as well as to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as individuals devoted to reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.

Most attempts at suppression rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy: that the ordinary individual, by exercising critical judgment, will select the good and reject the bad. We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be “protected” against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.

These efforts at suppression are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, art and images, films, broadcast media, and the Internet. The problem is not only one of actual censorship. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy or unwelcome scrutiny by government officials.

Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of accelerated change. And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such a time of social tension. Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with controversy and difference.

Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms. The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. The written word is the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. It is essential to the extended discussion that serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections.

We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. We believe that these pressures toward conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend. We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings.

The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.

We therefore affirm these propositions:

  1. It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority.

Creative thought is by definition new, and what is new is different. The bearer of every new thought is a rebel until that idea is refined and tested. Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by the ruthless suppression of any concept that challenges the established orthodoxy. The power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them. To stifle every nonconformist idea at birth would mark the end of the democratic process. Furthermore, only through the constant activity of weighing and selecting can the democratic mind attain the strength demanded by times like these. We need to know not only what we believe but why we believe it.

  1. Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral, or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what should be published or circulated.

Publishers and librarians serve the educational process by helping to make available knowledge and ideas required for the growth of the mind and the increase of learning. They do not foster education by imposing as mentors the patterns of their own thought. The people should have the freedom to read and consider a broader range of ideas than those that may be held by any single librarian or publisher or government or church. It is wrong that what one can read should be confined to what another thinks proper.

  1. It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.

No art or literature can flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private lives of its creators. No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.

  1. There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.

To some, much of modern expression is shocking. But is not much of life itself shocking? We cut off literature at the source if we prevent writers from dealing with the stuff of life. Parents and teachers have a responsibility to prepare the young to meet the diversity of experiences in life to which they will be exposed, as they have a responsibility to help them learn to think critically for themselves. These are affirmative responsibilities, not to be discharged simply by preventing them from reading works for which they are not yet prepared. In these matters values differ, and values cannot be legislated; nor can machinery be devised that will suit the demands of one group without limiting the freedom of others.

  1. It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept the prejudgment of a label characterizing any expression or its author as subversive or dangerous.

The ideal of labeling presupposes the existence of individuals or groups with wisdom to determine by authority what is good or bad for others. It presupposes that individuals must be directed in making up their minds about the ideas they examine. But Americans do not need others to do their thinking for them.

  1. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people’s freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large; and by the government whenever it seeks to reduce or deny public access to public information.

It is inevitable in the give and take of the democratic process that the political, the moral, or the aesthetic concepts of an individual or group will occasionally collide with those of another individual or group. In a free society individuals are free to determine for themselves what they wish to read, and each group is free to determine what it will recommend to its freely associated members. But no group has the right to take the law into its own hands, and to impose its own concept of politics or morality upon other members of a democratic society. Freedom is no freedom if it is accorded only to the accepted and the inoffensive. Further, democratic societies are more safe, free, and creative when the free flow of public information is not restricted by governmental prerogative or self-censorship.

  1. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, they can demonstrate that the answer to a “bad” book is a good one, the answer to a “bad” idea is a good one.

The freedom to read is of little consequence when the reader cannot obtain matter fit for that reader’s purpose. What is needed is not only the absence of restraint, but the positive provision of opportunity for the people to read the best that has been thought and said. Books are the major channel by which the intellectual inheritance is handed down, and the principal means of its testing and growth. The defense of the freedom to read requires of all publishers and librarians the utmost of their faculties, and deserves of all Americans the fullest of their support.

We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of the written word. We do so because we believe that it is possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.

This statement was originally issued in May of 1953 by the Westchester Conference of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, which in 1970 consolidated with the American Educational Publishers Institute to become the Association of American Publishers.

Adopted June 25, 1953, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee; amended January 28, 1972; January 16, 1991; July 12, 2000; June 30, 2004.

A Joint Statement by:

American Library Association
Association of American Publishers

Subsequently endorsed by:

American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression
The Association of American University Presses, Inc.
The Children’s Book Council
Freedom to Read Foundation
National Association of College Stores
National Coalition Against Censorship
National Council of Teachers of English
The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression


Freedom to View Statement

The FREEDOM TO VIEW, along with the freedom to speak, to hear, and to read, is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. In a free society, there is no place for censorship of any medium of expression. Therefore these principles are affirmed:

  1. To provide the broadest access to film, video, and other audiovisual materials because they are a means for the communication of ideas. Liberty of circulation is essential to insure the constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression.
  2. To protect the confidentiality of all individuals and institutions using film, video, and other audiovisual materials.
  3. To provide film, video, and other audiovisual materials which represent a diversity of views and expression. Selection of a work does not constitute or imply agreement with or approval of the content.
  4. To provide a diversity of viewpoints without the constraint of labeling or prejudging film, video, or other audiovisual materials on the basis of the moral, religious, or political beliefs of the producer or filmmaker or on the basis of controversial content.
  5. To contest vigorously, by all lawful means, every encroachment upon the public’s freedom to view.

This statement was originally drafted by the Freedom to View Committee of the American Film and Video Association (formerly the Educational Film Library Association) and was adopted by the AFVA Board of Directors in February 1979. This statement was updated and approved by the AFVA Board of Directors in 1989.

Endorsed January 10, 1990, by the ALA Council